Netherlands plummets on global gender equality ranking

Worldwide Gender Gap Widens for the First Time in 10 Years

The report called 2017 "a bad year in a good decade", as the global gender gap had been closing since 2006, the year the report was first published. "With more than 50 years passed since the inauguration of the nation's first female prime minister, maintaining its global ranking will require India to make progress with a new generation of women political leadership", the report said.

The country has raised four places within a year to be ranked 12th for political empowerment, due to an increase in gender parity in ministerial positions and politicians.

More positively, the State maintains a fully closed gender gap on educational attainment from previous year, and also sees an increase in gender parity in the number of legislators, senior officials and managers, continuing a steady trend since 2013.

The Index measures equality between men and women in 144 countries worldwide in four key sectors: health, education and political and economic participation. At the current rate of progress, the global gender gap will take 100 years to close, said the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.

Last year, WEF said women would achieve economic equality in 170 years, down from 118 years in 2015.

While a total of 68% of the world's gender gap (which covers several categories, not just wages) is closing, the reversal is driven by declining gender equality in the workplace and political representation. Reykjavik was able to ensure the equality of men and women of 87.7%. India's Health and Survival ranking was 142nd a year ago and on political empowerment it ranked 112th. It would take more than 200 years to close the economic gender gap. It now ranks behind countries including the United Kingdom (15th), Australia (35th) and Bangladesh (47th). "The fact that 66 per cent of women's work is unpaid shows the gender disparity".

This year's report sees no new entrants to the top 10, which is dominated by smaller Western European countries, and particularly the Nordics with Iceland, Finland, and Norway occupying the top three positions.

The further away the score is from 0, the higher the "distance to parity" in the country for that sub index appears to be. These economies are "putting in place more gender-equal opportunities regardless of their level of economic development", said Stefanova Ratcheva.

"In 2017, we should not be seeing progress towards gender parity shift into reverse", Saadia Zahidi, WEF head of education, gender and work, said. "Also, keeping in mind all the reforms happening at the moment, next year's report results seem to be even more promising".

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